Pioneer kitchens came in many different forms. When pioneers were traveling on the prairie, food would be cooked over an open fire. When wood was scarce, pioneer travelers would often use bison chips, or dried bison dung, for fuel. Early log buildings were small and not well-ventilated, so kitchens were often built outdoors and away from homes.
Backstory and Context
Building the summer kitchens away from homes also decreased the risk of stove cinders burning the homes down. These kitchens also kept the odors and the heat of the stove away from the house.
The structures were often temporary. Inside the kitchen would be a chimney with an open hearth or a woodstove. The woodstove had to be continually fed with wood in order to keep it hot. In the winter this structure would be used for butchering or laundering.
The present structure in the Park was built in 2007. It has no plumbing or electricity in order to preserve the historic feel of the park. Inside the summer kitchen is a working woodstove. Park volunteers often cook historically accurate recipes on the stove, and the park’s education staff leads school groups through cooking activities.
Four Mile Historic Park Collections
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